The National People's Party (NPP) and the Naga People's Front (NPF) on Friday demanded that the PDA government in Nagaland to roll back the hike in fuel prices in the state.
The NPP condemned the fuel price hike by calling the state government's move as “bereft of any possible logic, especially at a time when the entire economy of the state is in jeopardy.” The NPP also termed it as "anti-people".
Meanwhile, the NPF said it was "mystified" that the "NDPP (the ruling party) deems the cost of petrol and diesel as 'non-issues' in its press statement dated 19/11/2020 that appeared in the local dailies in Nagaland the following day". The NPF said it was "bemused" at the "laboured justification" that the NDPP has conjured up to welcome the "decision of the Government of Nagaland in increasing the tax levied on petrol, diesel and other lubricants".
In a press statement issued on Friday, the NPF said it is also quite perplexing that the press statement of the NDPP "under scrutiny" keeps mentioning and defending the Nagaland Chief Minister time and again. "For the record, the NPF, in its press statement released on November 13, 2020, had demanded the PDA Government roll back the cruel decision to hike taxes on petrol and diesel without ever once alluding to the Hon'ble Chief Minister in person", the NPF said.
According to the press statement of the NPF, the NDPP has the temerity to label the increased cost of petrol and diesel as "non Issues" exposed the "deplorable fact" that the majority party in the ruling PDA government has lost touch with reality not just in Nagaland but in the whole of the modern world whose geopolitics is largely driven by considerations of availability, supply and reserves of petroleum fuel. The NPF pointed out that in a democracy, both the ruling government and the opposition party have assigned roles to play and the ruling party should focus on providing proper governance to the people and desist from issuing superfluous press statements. "The attempt of the NDPP to dredge up extraneous and irrelevant issues might be interpreted as an effort to divert the burning issue at hand that the NPF has raised and does not warrant further comment," the statement also said, adding, "If the NDPP cannot take the positive criticism of the opposition party for the welfare of the general public, do the people consider the recent hike on the petroleum products as, ‘Christmas Gift’ to the people?" it asked.
The NPF then said it acknowledged the effort of the Finance department, Government of Nagaland in publishing the retail price of petrol and diesel in some of the neighbouring states. "However, to understand the ground situation in their proper perspective, the department should also equally highlight the retail cost of fuel in other North-eastern states such as Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura where the retail cost is lower than Nagaland and not just those states where retail cost is higher or very close to Nagaland," it further pointed out.
The NPF then urged the PDA Government to instruct its agencies to do a comprehensive comparative study of the cost of essential commodities and other essentials like building materials in Nagaland with the neighbouring states and publish it for public awareness. "Sincere effort should then be made to ensure price-control so that the financial burden on the public is eased," it added.
According to the NPF statement, it is painful to observe that while all this debate is going on, the public is struggling for their day to day meets due to the pandemic, the cost of essential commodities is escalating every passing day and the beleaguered public is shouldering the brunt of this imperious decision.
"We, therefore, reiterate the demand to roll back the cruel decision of the PDA Government to hike the tax on petrol and diesel at the earliest," it demanded.